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Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms Often Depend on Metastasis Size and Location

The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer, which is also known as Stage IV breast cancer, can vary greatly and exhibit as symptoms of various other types of cancer. When breast cancer metastasizes, it spreads past the axillary lymph nodes to other areas of the body, creating secondary tumors in those locations. Metastatic cancer usually cannot be cured, though treatment may help manage the condition and improve symptoms. Because of this, it is important for men and women who suspect they may have breast cancer to check with a cancer specialist for diagnosis and treatment before it has a chance to spread. Breast cancer symptoms to watch for include skin irritation, breast swelling and pain, nipple pain, abnormal nipple curvature, and red, scaly skin.

The signs of metastatic breast cancer depend largely on the area to which it has spread. Some common areas of metastasis include:

  • bones – symptoms may include progressively severe pain, swelling, inflammation, or pathological fracturing.
  • liver – symptoms may include jaundice, abdominal pain, elevated liver enzymes, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • lungs – symptoms may include chest pain, chronic coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • brain – symptoms may include persistent and progressive headache, seizures, nausea, vertigo, visual problems, and behavioral and personality changes.

Any patients who are experiencing metastatic breast cancer symptoms can schedule an appointment at Tampa General Hospital for official diagnosis and the development of a comprehensive treatment plan. Our cancer specialists and other medical professionals are highly knowledgeable and experienced in providing our patients with the compassionate care they deserve. Acting together as a multidisciplinary team, we offer each patient individualized treatment using the most cutting-edge techniques available and thorough ongoing care to work toward achieving the best possible outcome.